How to Add Muscle and Healthy Weight

Consuming quality calories and nutrient dense foods is what you need to put into your body if you’re trying to gain healthy weight and lean muscle mass. This means you want to stay away from burgers and fried foods. They are filled with empty calories and lead to putting on unhealthy weight. Instead, follow these suggestions to add lean muscle mass and healthy weight.

Eat Often and Snack

What you put into your body and being consistent is critical to putting on healthy weight instead of fat. Eat every three to four hours, make sure the calorie count is reasonable, and consisting of nutrient rich foods.

For example, there are about 300 calories in 24 ounces of soda, which is similar to a cup of full-fat Greek yogurt, ½ cup of blueberries and two tablespoons of flaxseed. The number of calories is the only similarity between them with the latter being far better for you.

Our bodies thrive off energy and if we’re not properly fueling, it slows down and starts dipping into our muscle mass. The number of calories is going to vary and depend on the body type, but on average, 500 to 600 is a reasonable number.

Snacking is also important. Keep these between 100 to 200 calories. A good snack is almonds or fruit. These will keep your energy level up and provide a number of health benefits.

Drink your Food

Liquids aren’t as filling as solid food, but the right drinks are rich in nutrients and won’t leave you feeling full. Smoothies are a great way to get fruits, veggies and protein into your daily diet. Other options include 100% fruit juice, carrot juice, and organic skim milk or alternatives such as almond milk. Start enjoying these instead of soda, sports and energy drinks.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Fuel your body with a blend of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. A good balance is 50%-60% carbs, 15%-20% protein, and 25%-30% healthy fats. By incorporating food from each group into meals, you’re providing your body with a broader spectrum of nutrients.

The carbs you consume should be complex such as whole wheat, grain cereals and potatoes. Protein is great way to add muscle, but you don’t want to go overboard. Protein requires a lot of energy to digest and tends to be very filling.

For example, if your breakfast is a banana, this isn’t going to sustain you for very long. Add in a few eggs and cook them in a small amount of extra virgin olive oil. This is a smaller meal that gives your body the energy it thrives on.

Incorporating these foods and drinks into your diet will not only help you add healthy weight, you’ll also feel better the more you consume them.



5 Tips for Working Out at Any Age

Let’s be honest. If you used to run three-hour marathons and you’re 65 today, you’re probably not running three-hour marathons anymore. Or maybe you are. In which case, well done! But if not, that’s OK too. You can still set ambitious goals and feel good about your fitness routine, no matter your age. It just may require some adjustments along the way, which can be rewarding. Keeps things fresh. Here are some suggestions on how to embrace exercise at every stage in your life.


 1.   Stay Flexible

One key to staying fit over the long haul is to incorporate flexibility training and non-impact aerobic activity into your routines. Something like yoga will get you well on your way to building more flexible joints. And non-impact aerobic activities like elliptical gliding can be great in maintaining cardio. These activities will help you burn calories and fat, build muscle, and strengthen bones, while protecting the joints from unnecessary pounding.


2. When Looking To Get Back Into Shape, Take It Slow

It can be tempting to just go back to what you were doing before your break. Resist that urge. It’s a good way to get injured. Start slowly. If you were a runner, return by starting with walking and building through a jog to a run. If you did weight training, reduce weights to around half of the weight you lifted before your break. Extend your warm-up and cool down to protect muscles and joints from injury. As your fitness builds, usually around the six-week mark, you can add more workouts per week and increase the time spent exercising.


3. Celebrate Small Victories

Reward yourself when you successfully complete a workout, reach a goal, or simply show up on a day when you didn’t feel like it. Jump in a whirlpool or have a decadent smoothie. You deserve it. Also, write down your activities. This not only holds you accountable but is a reminder of your accomplishments.


4. Check In With a Trainer

These days there are so many fitness options. It can get overwhelming. But a good way of bringing structure to your routines and clarifying your goals is to consult with a trainer, such as the professionals we have at Snap Fitness. Let them help you plan your workouts. You’ll feel better about how you’re spending your time.


5. Have Fun!

Not every workout is going to be amazing. Some are going to be just hard work. But there are ways in which to keep it a fun activity, even if you didn’t have your best legs that day. Some ideas:


  • Listen to music or an audiobook while lifting weights.
  • Make plans with gym friends after working out.
  • Watch a favorite movie or TV show while on the treadmill.
  • Try a new class.


Your 6-Step Psoriasis Spring Survival Guide

Spring is a welcome change for people with psoriasis, but a new set of concerns come along with the season. Take care of your skin with these simple tips.

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t welcome the shift from winter to spring, and those with psoriasis are no exception. The transition is a favorite time of year for many people with psoriasis because sun and humidity, combined with less stress, can help ease flare-ups of the chronic inflammatory skin condition, says Melissa Piliang, MD, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

“Many people see relief with the changing of the seasons for a number of reasons,” Dr. Piliang explains. “The more-humid air helps all of us. Skin gets less itchy and dry. And the reappearance of the sun also has a beneficial effect on the skin of those with psoriasis.”

While the sun can provide relief, it’s still important to be cautious. Excessive sun exposure can lead to sunburn, which can actually trigger a psoriasis flare-up and increase your risk for skin cancer, Piliang warns.

In addition to increased sun exposure, there are other factors you should consider to ensure a smooth transition from the cold, dry winter to sunny spring. Here are some tips to keep in mind for a flare-free season.

1. Here comes the sun. So how much sun is recommended? People with psoriasis should start with five minutes of sun exposure daily, gradually increasing to 10 minutes per day. For this minimal amount of time, plaques can be exposed to the sun without sunscreen, says Piliang. If you’re going to be out for a longer period of time, it’s important to apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 50, and use it liberally. “A 6-ounce bottle should really only last for six applications,” Piliang says.

2. Don’t sweat it. As the temperatures rise in spring, you will likely sweat more, and that can make psoriasis symptoms worse, Piliang says. In warmer weather, be sure to wear moisture-wicking fabrics or loose, light-colored clothing to help minimize sweating.

3. Keep the bugs off. Any injury to the skin can trigger a psoriasis flare-up, and this includes scratches and insect bites, Piliang explains. “Scratching a bug bite is a double whammy,” she notes. To prevent injury to your skin from itchy or painful bug bites, Piliang recommends the following:

• Wear long sleeves and pants when possible.

• Tuck your pants into your socks if you are outside in wooded areas.

• Use insect repellent that contains DEET — an active ingredient designed to repel insects, offering the best protection against mosquito bites.

4. Get in the swim of things. As temperatures rise, taking a dip in a pool or at the beach can help soften and remove crusty or flaking psoriasis plaques. However, salt water and chlorine can also be irritating and leave the skin feeling dry, Piliang notes. “After your swim, be sure to rise off thoroughly with freshwater and then apply a thick coat of moisturizer,” she recommends.

5. Keep dirt away, but be gentle on your skin. In the dry winter months, people with psoriasis should limit soap to their underarms, groin, face, hands, and feet. But in the spring when people are outside more often, thorough bathing may be necessary, Piliang advises. “If you are out in the garden getting dirty, you may need to soap your legs and arms more than in the winter,” she says. “That’s fine, but use mild soap formulated for sensitive skin.” Piliang also recommends using moisturizer year round — not just in the winter.

6. Find ways to de-stress. Although people with psoriasis are not immune to the misery of seasonal allergies, there is no scientific evidence of a link between the two conditions, Piliang says. One lifestyle factor that is known to trigger not only psoriasis symptoms, but other skin conditions, like rosacea and acne, is stress.

In fact, researchers found that chronic stress and burnout have a significant effect on quality of life among people with psoriasis and could interfere with the success of their treatment. The study, published in October 2015 in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, recommends a holistic approach to psoriasis management in order to help combat stress and the effect that it has on the skin condition.

It’s important to incorporate stress-reducing activities into your daily routine, says Piliang. Luckily, nicer weather and the relaxing activities that come with it make this a little easier to do. Exercise is an activity that not only boosts your mood and alleviates stress, but can help combat metabolic diseases like abdominal obesity and diabetes that are often associated with moderate to severe psoriasis.

In addition to regular exercise, Piliang recommends yoga and meditation to ease stress and control psoriasis. “Get in the habit of taking a daily walk or building five minutes of quiet solitude into your day,” she says. Reading, gardening, visiting the farmers market, or scheduling a hike or bike ride with a friend (while getting some exercise!) are also great stress-busting activities you can incorporate into your schedule this spring.

What does vitamin C actually do?

How one genius spread a massive myth that’s persisted for decades

Linus Pauling won two Nobel Prizes, helped uncover the nature of chemical bonds, identified sickle cell anemia as a molecular disease, elucidated some of the most common protein structures, revolutionized our understanding of primate evolution, and is widely hailed as one of the fathers—if not the father—of molecular biology.

Oh, and he almost single-handedly spread one of the biggest medical misconceptions of all time: that vitamin C prevents colds.

Like the much more malicious myth that vaccines cause autism, it began with quackery. Pauling first heard about the wonder that is (or really, isn’t) vitamin C from a man named “Dr.” Stone, who was a doctor in much the same way that a koala bear is a bear—and had about as much expertise on human health as your average marsupial. But gosh darnit if that was going to keep Pauling from believing that 3000 milligrams of vitamin C would solve just about every ailment he could think of.

He and Stone even conducted a shoddy clinical trial that claimed to prove their point, which other researchers noted was fundamentally flawed. The people treated with vitamin C were healthier to begin with, so of course they had better outcomes. That didn’t stop Pauling, though. When he published a book on the matter in 1970, cleverly titled “Vitamin C and the Common Cold,” the American public went crazy for it. After all, here was a man so brilliant that he was (and still is) the only person ever to win two totally unshared Nobel Prizes and one of only two people to win Nobels in different fields—chemistry and peace. Surely he knows what he’s talking about.

Pauling went on to claim that high doses of the supplement could cure everything from heart disease to leprosy, and even cancer (in a sad ironic twist, he died of prostate cancer in 1994, while his wife died years earlier of stomach cancer). And the public bought it. Never mind that every professional medical organization in the world rejected the idea as baseless—here was a Very Smart Man telling the good people of Earth that if only they took vitamin supplements they could solve all their health problems.

Here’s the snag: vitamin C doesn’t prevent colds and it doesn’t prevent cancer, nor does it cure either ailment. Some studies have found evidence that regular usage might shorten the duration of your cold, but not when taken after the onset of the cold. Others have found associations with daily dosage and lower risk of cardiovascular diseases, though still more have shown no relationship whatsoever. The same goes for cataracts, pneumonia, tetanus, asthma, and liver disease.

As for cancer, the best-quality data show that vitamin C supplements have no effect on your likelihood of getting cancer, nor on the outcome of cancer once you have it. It’s possible that it can help certain therapies to work better, but equally likely that it inhibits other types of treatments. And while some small studies have found that extremely high doses do kill cancer cells, that’s only when the vitamin is given intravenously. Doses direct to your bloodstream can drastically increase the amount of vitamin C in your plasma—oral supplements can’t.

The basic upshot is this: taking vitamin C supplements will, in all likelihood, have no effect on your health. Since it’s a water-soluble vitamin, any excess you take in will simply be excreted out in your pee. The greatest risk is that you’ll get diarrhea or some other vague gastrointestinal problems (assuming that you don’t have hereditary hemochromatosis, or iron overload, in which case it can actually cause long-term damage to your internal tissues). Taking vitamin C every day probably won’t hurt you, but you almost certainly don’t need it. It’s not difficult to get enough in your diet without popping pills. You can find it in oranges, garlic, strawberries, chili peppers, kiwi, beef liver, oysters, guava, broccoli, parsley, onion, peach, apples, pears, carrots, bananas, avocados, plums, and a whole host of other foods that you never realized had vitamin C in them or possibly have never heard of (see: camu camu, seabuckthorn, and cloudberries).

All this being said, if you have a vitamin C deficiency you should absolutely take supplements. As any 18th century sailor will tell you, scurvy is no joke. And even if it doesn’t get that far, you need vitamin C to make collagen, heal wounds, produce some neurotransmitters, and support your immune system. Most people get plenty of it from their diet, but deficiencies persist in developed countries in people who eat junk food almost exclusively. Otherwise the problem has largely disappeared as the general population has gained regular access to a variety of fruit and vegetables.

Like almost all vitamins, there’s really no need to take vitamin C unless you have a genuine deficiency. Which you probably don’t. Consider this your license to stop buying those cold remedies containing megadoses of vitamin C and artificial orange flavor to try to trick you into thinking they’re appetizing. Just eat a regular orange and be done with it.


4 Steps To Getting Rid Of Seasonal Allergies

“Dr. Hyman, I’ve been suffering from seasonal allergies for years,” writes this week’s house call. “Is there anything that I can do to make these go away or am I doomed forever?”

You are definitely not doomed; however, I do know how miserable seasonal allergies can be, especially in the spring and summer.

Conventional medicine treats seasonal allergies with injections and pills, which unfortunately, create side effects and fail to address the root problem. If you don’t address the root cause, then the allergies will never go away.

I’ve seen countless patients arrive complaining about gut issues. Once we fixed their diets and healed their guts, their seasonal allergies also disappeared!  When the immune system (60 percent of which is in the gut) is irritated, it reacts to everything – kind of like when you don’t get enough sleep everything makes you more irritable.

One patient struggled with allergies, asthma and hives. She almost nearly died twice from anaphylaxis. She arrived in my office on 42 different pills, sprays and inhalers; yet, she still felt awful. These drugs were suppressing and inhibiting her immune function, causing her body to attack everything. None of her doctors had questioned why her immune system was so compromised in the first place.  But due to my Functional Medicine approach, that’s the first question I asked.

Turned out, she had leaky gut that was triggered by celiac disease, a gluten-related autoimmune disease. Until that point, nobody had actually tested her for this condition! When we eliminated gluten and other dietary allergens, we healed her leaky gut and calmed down her allergies. Thankfully, after six weeks she was able to stop the 42 medications she used daily.

For her and countless other patients, a key strategy involves getting your gut healthy. After all, an unhealthy, inflamed gut can’t fight off potential allergens. To do that and eliminate seasonal allergies, I’ve found these four strategies incredibly helpful.

  1. Replace bad with good. An elimination diet becomes the first step for a healthy gut. The simple foundation of Functional Medicine is taking out the bad and putting in the good. Eliminate common toxic triggers like wheat, corn, dairy, soy and alcohol. Eat a whole foods, high-fiber diet that is rich in anti-inflammatory plant chemicals called phytonutrients. Avoid anything that contains sugar or trans fats. Focus on eating healthy fats from extra virgin olive oil, nuts, avocados and omega-3 fats like those found in small fish (sardines, herring, sable, wild-caught salmon). I provide an easy-to-implement plan in my book Eat Fat, Get Thin.
  2. Use powerful gut-healing nutrients — including probiotics, which provide good bacteria to improve digestion and reduce inflammation. Other gut-healing nutrients include glutamine, zinc, curcumin and fish oil. I always recommend a high-quality multivitamin. Quercetin (which has anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine properties) and nettles can also relieve symptoms from allergies. You can find these and other allergy-relieving supplements in my store.
  3. Manage stress. A mind-body disconnect can mean being stressed out, wired and tired and can really damage your gut and worsen seasonal allergies. Practice relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation every day.
  4. Get adequate sleep. Optimal sleep is crucial for gut health and overall health.  Research shows inadequate sleep shortens your lifespan and increases inflammation, which can lead to chronic disease. Insufficient sleep can also increase your risk for diabetes through insulin resistance, paving the way for diabesity. Aim for at least eight hours of uninterrupted, deep sleep every night. To help meet that quota, check out my eight simple hacks for a better night’s sleep.

Occasionally, I’ll have a patient who has tried all these things and still suffers. In those cases, we need to dig a little deeper for other causes such as food additives, pesticides, chemicals and pollution in their environment. You should also check for mold in your home or work — check out this site to learn more. 

Also, consider a very important blood test called C-reactive protein, which measures the degree of hidden inflammation in your body. Almost every modern disease is caused by or affected by hidden inflammation, including heart disease, cancer, obesity, dementia, arthritis, autoimmune disease, allergies and digestive disorders.

Chronic inflammation that contributes to seasonal allergies and much more can come from many sources, including:

  • A high-sugar, processed-foods diet
  • Inflammatory fats like omega 6 fats found in processed vegetable oils and trans fat
  • Lack of exercise
  • Stress
  • Food allergies and sensitivities
  • Hidden or chronic infections, such as viruses, bacteria, yeasts or parasites, mold and other environmental allergens
  • Toxicity from an overload of environmental toxins

Ultimately, lifestyle choices and how we care for our bodies and souls is not part of our education, values or even our daily planning; yet, these basic skills form the root cause of our happiness and health.

While these principles are disarmingly simple, even the best and brightest people fail to make the connection between how we treat our bodies and how we feel. Most of us never learned how to care for and feed our bodies and souls. A few simple acts implemented into your daily life could change everything, including seasonal allergies.


Tired All the Time? Try These 8 Natural Energy Boosters

You don’t have to feel drained on a daily basis. Here’s how to keep your energy tank full. If you’re running low right now, try these instant pick-me-ups.

If you’re tired all the time you’re not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have gone so far as to call Americans’ lack of sleep a “public health epidemic.” Chronic fatigue is also related to a variety of medical conditions including autoimmune disease, thyroid disorders, depression, and anemia. Combine any of these possibilities with long hours at work and it’s no surprise you’re reaching for a third cup of coffee by 3 o’clock. But there are other natural ways to boost energy that will provide a more sustainable lift and won’t compromise your ability to wind down in the evening so you can finally get the rest you need. Read on for a few research-supported strategies to stay energized all day long.

Balance your carb consumption. That afternoon slump may happen because you’re bored at work, but more than likely it has a lot to do with what you just ate for lunch. Your body and brain need food for fuel, but when a lot of the calories you consume come from carbohydrates—such as the bread used in sandwiches or a hearty bowl of pasta—you may start to feel sleepy about an hour after eating. Carbohydrates are absorbed into your blood stream almost immediately after eating. Right after a carb-heavy meal your blood sugar will experience a big surge then, when all the carbs are used up, your blood sugar will plummet, bringing on that feeling of fatigue. However, calories that come from fiber, fat, and protein take longer to release. For even all-day energy, eat a mix of nutrients at each meal and snack, including plenty of fiber-rich veggies and fruits, lean proteins such as chicken or beans, and some healthy fat, such as that found in avocados and olive oil.

Related: The Surprising Reasons You’re Not Sleeping Well

Sniff some mint. Have you ever noticed that spas tend to smell of flowers such as lavender and ylang ylang? Studies show that these scents increase calmness, which is right for that setting. If you were to look for an essential oil that had the opposite effect—one that made you more energized and alert—choose peppermint. This distinct odor has the opposite effect of soothing essential oils, although it’s still a pleasant scent. Peppermint can even enhance your memory, according to a study in the International Journal of Neuroscience.

Take in more B12. Even if you eat a balanced diet, you may be deficient in important nutrients. If you’re feeling sluggish, try increasing your intake of vitamin B12. This vitamin is naturally found in animal-derived foods like meat, fish, poultry, and dairy, which explains why many vegetarians and vegans may not get enough through diet alone. (Vitamin B12 is also important for anemia prevention.) Vitamin B12 supplements can be found in the vitamin aisle of most grocery stores; you can take this vitamin on its own or in a blend of other B vitamins.

Go to yoga or take a walk. It may seem like being active will only make you feel more tired and it can be true—going to an intense bootcamp class may make you want to take a nap. But engaging in low or moderate activity—such as a short walk or a yoga session—can boost energy levels, according to an article from the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. This sort of exercise is enough to increase your circulation—and with it the blood and oxygen flow to your body and brain—without actually tiring you out. The next time you feel fatigued but you really need to be awake, try it out: Go on a brisk 10- or 20-minute walk and see how you feel after. Chances are you’ll be much more awake than when you left. For a quick yoga pick-me-up try some repetitions of Sun Salutation A, demonstrated in the video above.


Sleep Problems Tied to Diabetes in Men

Men who do not get enough sleep — or get too much — may have an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests.

Researchers studied 788 healthy men and women participating in a larger health study, measuring their sleep duration using electronic monitors and testing them for markers of diabetes — how well pancreatic cells take up glucose and how sensitive the body’s tissues are to insulin. The study is in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The average sleep time for both men and women was about seven hours. As the men diverged from the average, in either direction, their glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity decreased, gradually increasing the deleterious health effects. There was no such association in women.

The researchers weren’t sure why men but not women showed this association but caution that this was a cross-sectional study, a snapshot of one moment in time, and that they draw no conclusions about cause and effect.

The lead author, Femke Rutters, an assistant professor at the VU Medical Center in Amsterdam, said that it is easy to advise men to get regular and sufficient sleep, but because so many lifestyle and health factors may contribute to poor sleep, acting on that advice is much harder.

“There has been a lot of observational work on sleep, but trying to change it is difficult,” she said. “Ideally, men should try for regular sleep.”


Sticky Stove Top Drumsticks


Sticky Balsamic Chicken Drumsticks - Made on the stove, and all you need is chicken, balsamic, soy sauce, sugar and garlic. The glaze is incredible!Sticky Balsamic Chicken Drumsticks - Made on the stove, and all you need is chicken, balsamic, soy sauce, sugar and garlic. The glaze is incredible!



Sticky Balsamic Chicken Drumsticks - Made on the stove, and all you need is chicken, balsamic, soy sauce, sugar and garlic. The glaze is incredible!


Sticky Balsamic Chicken Drumsticks - Made on the stove, and all you need is chicken, balsamic, soy sauce, sugar and garlic. The glaze is incredible!

Serves: 4
  • 8 chicken drumsticks (2 lb / 1 kg) (Note 1)
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (brown)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
Extra Flavourings (Optional)
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha or 1 tsp red pepper flakes (Note 2)
Garnishes (optional)
  • Parsley or shallots/scallions, finely sliced
  1. Combine all ingredients (including Extra Flavourings, if using) in a large skillet/fry pan or pot (Note 3) over medium high heat. The chicken should be in a single layer.
  2. Bring to boil, turn chicken, then turn down to medium so it simmers energetically but not rapidly. DO NOT cover the pan with a lid.
  3. Cook for 20 minutes, turning the chicken at 10 minutes.
  4. At 20 minutes, the chicken should be cooked. Move the chicken to the side of the skillet, propping and stacking them up on the edges of the skillet to clear the surface of the liquid as much as possible so it can reduce.
  5. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the liquid thickens (consistency of thick pouring cream) and coats the chicken. Keep an eye on the sauce, once it starts to thicken it will reduce quickly, don’t let it go too far. Roll the chicken in the glaze.
  6. Remove the skillet from the stove and stand for 5 minutes – the sauce will thicken slightly more. Roll the chicken in the glaze again, then serve, garnished with parsley or scallions if desired.
  7. (Note 4)
  8. Serve, garnished with scallions/shallots if using.

1. This recipe will work with boneless thigh fillets and chicken wings. Take the chicken out when cooked (boneless thigh – around 15 minutes, wings – around 15 minutes) and leave the sauce to reduce down to a glaze, then return the chicken to the pan to coat in the glaze. Bone-in thighs will also work – use the same cook times as drumsticks.

If you make this with breast fillets, you won’t achieve the same sticky glaze (because you need fat to create glaze). If you want to make this with breast fillets, I recommend adding 3 tbsp of oil into the liquid to help a glaze form.

2. You can use any chili, fresh or dried, or hot sauce to add heat to your taste.

3. You need to use a large pan or pot for this recipe. Large enough so the drumsticks fit in one layer but not too squished together otherwise the liquid will never reduce and the drumsticks won’t be submerged in the liquid enough to cook.

Even though only about ¼ of the drumsticks is submerged in the liquid, the bubbles from simmering + turning the chicken is enough to cook the drumsticks.

4. The purpose of this step is to allow the sauce to reduce. The cook time required to reduce the sauce will differ depending on the size of your pan, drumsticks and strength of the stove. The sauce is ready when it coats the chicken.

This is the nutrition per drumstick. BUT note that the calories is overstated because a lot of the chicken skin fat renders out during cooking and mixes in with the glaze. And only around 1/4 of the glaze coats the chicken.

Sticky Stove Top Balsamic Chicken Drumsticks Nutrition




How to Use a Staircase to Take Your Workout to the Next Level

Stairs are tough. Simply walking up them can make even the fittest person huff and puff. But we also know taking the stairs over an elevator is a super easy and realistic way to fit in more exercise throughout the day. So what if you took that notion to the next level and actually used a staircase in your next workout?

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Stairs add an extra element of intensity to an otherwise straightforward bodyweight workout, which is one of the reasons they’ve been a fitness go-to for decades (hello, step aerobics of the 90s). “Climbing stairs engages the body’s largest muscle groups to carry your own weight against gravity, which is far superior to exercising on a flat surface,” says Matty Maggiacomo, certified personal trainer and instructor at Barry’s Bootcamp in New York City. Plus, studies show that taking the stairs can increase your cardio capacity and even help you live longer.

So the next time you need a quick workout or a break from your usual neighborhood jog, shake things up with a staircase workout. You could use a set in your home or even a nearby park or stadium. Just make sure you stay safe, Maggiacomo says. “Choose a staircase that is level and wide, free of debris, and if in a public place, less-trafficked,” he says. Take them as slow as you need, and use the guide below to master the stairs.

How to Use This List

Create your own workout: Choose 2 moves from each section (upper body and core strength, lower-body strength, and cardio) for a total of 6 moves. Perform each exercise back-to-back for 60 seconds. At the end of the set, rest for 60 seconds. Repeat the full set 4 times for a workout that’s just under 30 minutes.

Try our workout: Scroll to the bottom to try Maggiacomo’s killer workout.

Upper-Body and Core Strength

Incline Push-Up

Face upstairs with knees on lower step and hands below shoulders on higher step. Engage core, keep spine straight, and bend elbows to lower chest to stair. Push back up to starting position. For more details on how to properly do a push-up, go here.

Make it harder: For an added challenge, start in a high plank position facing upstairs and do a classic push-up. Want even more of a challenge? Reverse your position to face downstairs and do a push-up as seen on left.

Triceps Dip

Sit on step facing decline with knees bent and feet flat on step below. Grip the edge of the step directly behind the small of your back. Bend elbows to lower butt to the step below, then press down to straighten arms and return to starting position.

Make it harder: Lift one leg straight up as you dip. Perform 10 reps keeping leg lifted throughout, then repeat on the other side.

Alligator Crawl

Start in high plank position parallel to steps. Step right arm and right leg toward incline step and allow left arm and left leg to follow. Climb steps keeping torso parallel to steps, hips level, core engaged. Continue to move up steps in plank position for 8 steps, then travel back down.

Lower-Body Strength

Staircase Sit Squat

Face downstairs with feet wider than shoulder width, hips stacked over knees, and knees over ankles. Squat by sending hips back, keeping chest upright, and bending knees. Lower as far as your mobility allows. (Bonus points if you can tap your butt to stair behind you). Straighten legs to return to starting position.

Staggered Squat

Start with right leg on upper step, left leg on lower step, and feet wider than shoulder width. Squat by sending hips back, keeping chest upright, and bending knees. Lower as far as your mobility allows, pressing into right heel. Return to starting position by straightening both legs. Do 10 reps then repeat on other side.

Make it harder: As you stand to starting position, sidestep feet to travel upstairs with each squat. Perform 10 reps, then repeat on the other side.

Upstairs Alternating Lunge

Face upstairs with feet hip width, hands on hips or clasped in front of chest. Step up onto stair with right foot and shift hips forward to lunge so knee forms a 90-degree angle. Press into right heel to push weight back and return to starting position. Repeat on the other side. Continue alternating legs.

Make it harder: Do a lunge as noted above but instead of returning to start, travel up the stairs as you lunge. If you’d like an extra challenge, lunge forward with right leg then press into right heel and use lower abs to drive left knee up to chest. Return to starting position and repeat on the other side, or continue to travel upstairs while lunging.

Alternating Reverse Lunge

Start facing upstairs with both feet hip width on upper step, heels in line with edge. Carefully lunge backward by stepping right foot back to lower step and bending left knee to form a 90-degree angle. Press into left heel to lift weight back up to top step. Repeat on the other side, and continue to alternate.

Calf Raise

Stand facing upstairs with left toes on step and heel hanging off. Lift right leg and place right hand on railing or wall for support. Slowly lower heel below edge of step to feel a stretch in calf muscle, then press into ball of foot to lift as high as ankle flexibility allows. Do 10 reps, and then repeat on the other side.


Skater Step

Stand with feet hip width on lower step, with right side nearest to upper step. Hop right foot onto upper step as you swing left arm across body and sweep left leg behind you until toes touch upper step. Bend right knee to curtsy lunge and touch left fingertips to right toes. Reverse the movement by hopping down step with left foot and swinging right arm across body as you sweep right leg behind you, coming into a curtsy lunge on the other side. Once you get going, this move feels pretty natural, like you’re speed skating across ice.

High Knees

Start at bottom stair facing upstairs with feet hip width. Keeping head up and shoulders back, jog upstairs, using core muscles to draw knees up toward chest with each step. Scale stairs one by one for length of staircase keeping knees high. Take your time and focus on each step to avoid tripping.

Make it harder: Increase your speed as you get better.

Bear Climb

Start facing upstairs on all fours with hands below shoulders and knees bent under hips. Lift knees so you’re on toes and crawl forward with right arm and left leg, then left arm and right leg. Keep core braced throughout.

Make it harder: At the top, turn around and crawl downstairs to the bottom.

Mountain Climber

Begin facing upstairs in a high plank, hands below shoulders on upper step, abs engaged, hips level, and feet on lower step. Bring right knee toward chest then quickly return right foot to starting position as you bring left knee to chest. Continue to alternate as quickly as possible.

Make it harder: If your steps are wide enough like the ones shown above, start in decline position facing downstairs with hands on lower step and feet on upper step. Drive alternate knees to chest one at a time.



Here’s When Eating Bacteria Can Be Good for You

We’ve been taught to avoid germs and bacteria since we were kids. Whether it’s sudsing up our hands or deep cleaning our homes (without harmful chemicals), we’re constantly trying to get rid of the microscopic culprits.

But it turns out eating bacteria can actually be a good thing. Numerous studies have found that foods fermented by lactic acid-producing bacteria (a beneficial kind of bacteria found in decomposing plants and milk products) may actually help keep your gastrointestinal systems healthy and functioning properly.

“Regularly consuming fermented foods helps bolster the population of good bacteria in the gut,” says Josh Axe, D.N.M., author of Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure It.

While the topic of gut health isn’t exactly first-date material, there are plenty of reasons to get excited about fermented foods.

The Need-to-Know

Long before refrigerators or freezers, ancient people used fermentation to keep foods from going bad, Axe says. Put simply, fermentation is an enzyme-controlled, chemical breakdown of an organic substance (think: sugar turning to alcohol or milk turning sour).

“When a carbohydrate gets converted by yeast, bacteria, or carbon dioxide, it’s fermented,” says Leah Silberman, R.D., cofounder of Tovita Nutrition in New York City. The process is anaerobic, meaning it takes place without oxygen, which is why fermented foods and canning go hand in hand. “Fermentation was used to preserve foods through canning and jarring, and now it’s making headlines for health benefits,” Silberman says.

Certain products like kombucha (fermented tea), kimchi (fermented vegetables), miso (fermented soy), yogurt and kefir (fermented milk), and sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) get a lot of buzz because they contain live microorganisms called probiotics. If that word sounds familiar, it’s probably because probiotics are having a bit of a moment. Several studies show links between probiotics and increased gut health and suggest they can help reestablish a healthier intestinal tract and benefit digestion. However more research is needed to back up some of the health claims made about probiotics (read: weight loss, clearer skin).

Additionally, not all fermented foods are healthy. Products like bread, cheese, and beer are fermented by lactic acid-producing bacteria but typically don’t contain live microorganisms due to cooking or pasteurization. And as Silberman reminds us, it’s important to read food labels carefully. “Ketchup can be loaded with sugar; pickles can mean you overload on salt,” she says. That doesn’t mean you should avoid them entirely, but moderation is key.

Your Action Plan

Fermented foods can taste a little funky. “Some people just don’t like fermented foods, so the idea is to start small,” Silberman says. And pay attention to serving sizes. “For instance, with [store-bought] kombucha, sometimes there are two servings in one drink, so just start with half the drink,” she says. Axe agrees and recommends one serving of probiotics each day from your food of choice.

If you’re specifically looking for fermented foods that contain probiotics, make sure you pick items from the refrigerated section of the grocery store and read labels. Room-temp sauerkraut won’t have any living microorganisms, and even some yogurts can be heat-treated after fermentation, killing most of the helpful bacteria. If a food contains either living microorganisms or probiotics, they may be included in the ingredient list—or the label may say “unpasteurized” or “live and active cultures.” (The most common probiotics found dairy foods are Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Streptococcus thermophilus.)

If you do your own refrigerated canning, there is a slight chance of listeria or botulism. However negative side effects are rare, and fermented foods have had a generally good safety record for thousands of years.

Can’t get past the taste and would rather take a supplement? Check with your doctor first. Remember supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, and some studies have found discrepancies between what’s on the label and what’s actually inside certain probiotic supplements.